Hindus, Muslims lock on to faith for healing

Hindus, Muslims lock on to faith for healing

Locks tied on the Muneshwara temple premises. DH photo

The sight that greets visitors at the entrance to two of the City’s busiest hospitals, Bowring and Lady Curzon in Shivajinagar is symbolic of that.

The idols of deities Muneshwara and Muthyalamma preside over at the entrance to the Bowring Hospital. Unlike other deities, their adornments are predominantly locks - tied around the idol, on it, just about everywhere in the vicinity. The contraptions are votive offerings of devotees praying for the early recovery of their loved ones who are patients in the hospital.

Going by the writings near the idol, this tradition has been followed since 1884.
The prayers to the deities and the other rituals are performed by the Lab attendant in the hospital, Pushparaj whose ancestors have been believed to have initiated the practice. “Everyday, around 10 to 20 patients come and tie a lock here as part of the prayers.

The key is then throw away, since this lock is supposed to capture the evil spirit present in the patient”, explained Pushparaj.  Various pujas are performed by his wife and him every Friday and on Amavasya (No Moon) day, attracting a huge crowd.

The hospital authorities apparently do not support his activities and are taking steps to stop it gradually since it is a matter of “Public Faith”.

The cash offerings to the deity are deposited in the box placed in front of the deity. Pushparaj also looks after the maintainence of the whole set up that is being carried out. Most of offerings were washed away by the hospital authorities recently.

Considering the identity of the deities, the practice is not limited to Hindus. A series of locks could be seen in front of a Darga in KR Market, very close to the Victoria Hospital. “The lock will confine the evil spirit that will not be able to harm you. All your wishes will be fulfilled if you tie this lock and throw away the key”, said Sulthana, a believer.

The origin of the belief that seems to be common to both Hindus and Muslims is not clear. But what is clear is that visitors to the hospital believe in something beyond medicine.

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